Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Sea Serpent and Me by Dashka Slater - There's A Sea Serpent in My Bathtub!

Pros: Fun and magical, beautiful illustrations
Cons: None

The Bottom Line: A very sweet book to read to your kids and one that I'm sure both of you will enjoy.

The other day at work (at Barnes & Noble, whoo!), the schedule had a minor hiccup in it and my managers popped up, “Hey Nicole, how would you feel about doing Storytime today?”

Uuuuuhhhh.... I pretty much flatlined, but seeing that neither of them were going to do it and our scheduled Storyteller was MIA, I gave in. The last time I read to kids was...actually I’m not sure. I thought maybe when I babysat but I don’t think that’s right. Probably when my little sister was still little. She’s 21 now. Either way, I picked out a few books, and one of them was facing out and it caught my eye, The Sea Serpent and Me by Dashka Slater. How often do you see kids books with sea serpents in them? So I grabbed it up and sat down to read to the small gaggle of gathered kids.

I’m glad I picked that one. It was really cute and the kids seemed to enjoy it more than the first book, How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?. The story is pretty simple. One day a little girl is about to take a bath and turns on the faucet when plop! A tiny sea serpent comes out with the water! She asks him where he came from and he explains that a tornado sucked him up, carried him around, and dropped him in a lake where a pipe sucked him up and plopped him into her bathtub. He needs to go back to the sea, and she agrees to take him, but the next few days bring rain. The sea serpent keeps on growing and soon, he’s so big, he has to go back before getting smooshed up in the house! Except when they both get to the beach, he doesn’t want to leave...

I’ll leave you to imagine whether or not the two friends stay together, but it’s a happy ending either way.

The book doesn’t rhyme or use words that are too simplistic, and instead has a lot of fun ideas and imagery. I’m not sure what the illustrator, Catia Chien, used, but it looks mostly like watercolors, something I always have high respect for because A.) they look fabulous and B.) I could never make watercolors look good. They’re colorful and creative, and really nudges your imagination when the sea serpent tells his new friend about how big he’ll get, what he saw while being carried by the tornado, and what he sees in the sea (“Fish shaped like violins!”). It was so cute, and I love the way Chien drew the serpent, with the little fins on his head and his sometimes goofy smile.

I had a lot of fun reading this aloud and the kids enjoyed it too, some looking a little “Ooh, aah” at the pictures and others simply smiling and staring as I showed the book around. I asked them little questions as we went, “Do you think there are fish shaped like violins in the ocean?” or “Would you want a sea serpent to fall into your bathtub?” I got answers from most of them, haha.

I thought the end was particularly cute, especially when the girl gives the sea serpent a little kiss on the head. I almost wanted to go, “Aaaaw!” Definitely recommend this to adults and children alike (c’mon adults, remember what it was like to be a kid!).

“If you had a sea serpent, would you give him a little kiss?”


“Me too.” =D


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "Song for Sienna" by Brian Crain

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